Blood Wedding is set in rural Spain, apparently around the year 1900. The action of the play grows out of the attitudes of the simple farming people working the land in the remote, barren countryside.
Garcia Lorca alludes briefly to the differences between rural and urban Spain in the wedding scene, where some of the guests are "from the seacoast" and are frightened of the horses. However, it's even more striking that the concepts of honor and revenge at the center of the plot are cherished by the relatively "unsophisticated" people who live in the countryside. The Mother cannot let go of her anguish over the killings of her husband and one of her sons at the hands of Leonardo's family. This isn't to say that in a more modern setting a woman would simply forget the past. But the raw, desperate passion of the story is more typical of the older world of the peasantry, especially in the Mediterranean countries.
Perhaps, however, gender issues are even more crucial to the story. Among the farming people in Europe at this time, marriages were arranged, and a young woman often had little say about the man chosen for her. In Blood Wedding the Bride still loves Leonardo, her former suitor. She willingly runs off with him, deserting the Bridegroom in the midst of the wedding celebration. The final catastrophe, in which the two men kill each other, is not unexpected in the patriarchal society of that time and place with the requirements it placed upon men as well as women.
Elsewhere in his oeuvre, notably in the tragedy Yerma, Garcia Lorca focuses on the frustration of women forced to comply with society's demands. The poetic qualities of his language, especially in those passages in Blood Wedding written in verse, have an old-world feel about them, and the setting in time and place corresponds to the raw and deep passions of the characters and the way they speak. The characters are in some sense symbols or representations of primal human types. That none of them are given names, with the exception of Leonardo, and the fact that a "Beggar Woman" represents Death, are perhaps the most striking evidence of the universal meanings embedded in both the characterizations and plot of the tragedy.